Editor’s Note: The below post is by Sasha from Wasio Photography in Chicago.
How I got the shot for my Award-Winning Image in Rangefinder’s Annual Photography Competition
While photographing for a personal project at the famous Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, we came across this cool place on the 3rd floor. What attracted us the most to this location were the various textures that we could use in creating different layers within our photo.
As you can see in the photograph, there were a lot of antique items that helped create compositional layers, however, it also made it look rather busy. That is why we used a portable backdrop – a very simple set up with just one stand and a steel bar – to hold the hand painted Gravity backdrop.
The location already had some ambient daylight, but the light was pretty weak and rather flat and dull, which is why we decided to enhance the image by adding some off camera light. For this specific environment, we chose to work with a Phottix Mitros+ Speedlight instead of bigger strobes, like the Phottix Indra 500, because we were shooting on location in a cramped space and wanted our light to be super portable and easy to carry. We also didn’t need a lot of flash power since we were working indoors.
We used the Phottix Odin II to control and trigger our Mitros+ wirelessly. We also narrowed the beam angle by changing the zoom setting on the flash and applying a Magmod grid to the front of the Mitros+.
Once we properly modified and shaped the light coming out of our Mitros+, we set the orientation of the speedlight’s head to horizontal, which allwed us to properly spread the light across both our models, and took the extra step of positioning our models in such a way that we were able to achieve both a Split Lighting and a Rembrandt Lighting pattern by using only on PhottixMitros+!
Our goal in the image was to keep the ambient light a bit darker than light we were adding to the scene because we wanted to shape our subjects by creating shadows. To do this we first underexposed our image by 2/3 at ISO500, which gave us an exposure of 1/125 at f/2.8. We then added the off-camera flash to illuminate our models and used our Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens at 35mm to capture the final image.
The image straight out of the camera was close to where we wanted it, so we only did some basic color adjustments in RAW processing , which ultimately gave us more details in our blacks and a relatively low contrast photo to work with in Photoshop.
Here is the Straight-Out-Of-Camera file:
Here are the RAW editing settings:
And the result of RAW post-processing:
In our more detailed editing in Adobe Photoshop,we did a simple perspective correction and added a color grade with Alien Skin Exposure X, Gradient Maps, and Color Fill adjustment layers. We also added some structure through Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro and Color Efex Pro. Lastly, we also did some D&B by using a combination of curves and a B&W adjustment layer in luminosity mode.
Below are all Photoshop layers and the result of the final edit: